Above: The Fire Clock at Noon
Twelve large flame effect devices arranged at the o’clock positions in a roughly 3800 foot diameter circle to give a time scale to the playa and create the largest clock face ever made. Every hour on the hour, from Monday until the burn, time can be discerned as each position fires off. At noon and midnight all twelve cannons go off simultaneously.
How can you tell what time it is? Since people already associate the street positions with o’clock positions, this allows a universal spatial time reference. During the day people near enough to that o’clock position can see and hear the fire, people further away will see the rising ring of smoke. After dark, the flame effect and heat wave will be noticed across the whole playa. Everyone at Burning Man will be able to tell the hours of day or night, events can be planned around this universal playa time scale.
We plan to achieve the flame effects with pneumatic sawdust puffers. (you can see a small scale one of these in action here in the embedded video below) I think the flame effects are comparable to the liquid flame throwers we have built in the past, yet the sawdust is vastly safer, more economical, and more ecologically sound to work with. Each o’clock position will have a device that can pneumatically shoot up about 60 pounds of ignited sawdust into the air making a 1000 foot tall effect.